South Korea is expanding the Incheon International Airport in Seoul to accommodate growing traffic

South Korea builds smart terminal to expand airport

South Korea is investing $5bn (£3bn) to build a second passenger terminal and other facilities at Incheon International Airport in Seoul to cope with future growth.

Incheon handled 40.5 million passengers in 2013, an increase of 6.4 per cent over the previous year. Passing the 40 million milestone puts it in Airports Council International’s ‘large airport’ category.

Construction of the new terminal has started and is scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2017 to meet the expected surge in arrivals for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Pyeongchang.

Terminal 2 will have 30 gates, bringing the airport’s total to 104. It will increase Incheon’s passenger handling capacity by 18 million to 62 million a year and cargo capacity from 4.5 million tonnes to 5.8 million tonnes.

The project focuses on three elements: Green, Eco and Smart. The terminal will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and eco-friendly facilities, and is expected to be 40 per cent more energy-efficient than Terminal 1.

Renewables, including solar and geothermal, will be the main energy sources. A solar power plant will be built close to the terminal, which is designed to withstand earthquakes up to a magnitude of 6.5 and winds up to 119km/h.

Incheon airport opened for operations in March 2001, replacing the older Gimpo International Airport, which now handles regional flights to China, Taiwan and Japan.

It was built on land reclaimed from the sea between Yeongjong and Yongyu islands. All three parallel runways, two 3,750m long and one 4,000m, are equipped with full Instrument Landing System CAT IIIb capability on either side to allow for operation in visibility conditions down to 50m. It is the only airport in Asia with such capability.

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